Cheryl Gallant’s Speech on Bill C-2, February 1st, 2016

February 1, 2016

Check Against Delivery

Mr. Speaker,

It gives me great pleasure to rise on this occasion as a Member of Parliament in the 42nd Parliament of Canada.

The people of Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke have my sincere gratitude for giving me the honour and the privilege of being their representative in this my 6th consecutive election.
Now the election is over, I renew my pledge that I never forget the people who made this possible.

The good people of Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke.

They can be assured that I will continue to fight for the issues they tell me are important.

As always, I am their servant.

There are many individuals to whom I owe a great debt of gratitude for the confidence they have placed in me, for their hard work and the selfless hours they put in, to build on the winning streak that is our standard for successful campaigns.

For the many newly elected MPs who are not aware of our history, the Ottawa Valley became the eastern beachhead of democracy in 2000.

That marked the beginning of meaningful change as Canadians entered the 21st century, and from the period 2006 on, a period that will be fondly remembered as the good ‘ole days of responsible leadership, while today Conservatives take a short break from government.

I extend my heartfelt thanks to our entire campaign team, my spouse Jamie and to the many hundreds of volunteers who demonstrated what a truly grassroots campaign, Ottawa Valley style, is really all about.

Before I begin my comments regarding C-2, I want to make it fundamentally clear the Conservative Party I am proudly a member of stands for lower taxes and less government interference in the daily lives of Canadians.

The best anti-poverty program is a job.

You do not create employment by taxing, borrowing and spending more than you can afford.
My constituents support lower taxation.

They sent me to Ottawa to reduce government and to fight for lower taxes.

Bill C-2 is about a misleading campaign promise that was presented to a distracted public as reducing taxes for some at the expense of raising taxes for others when in fact all it does is raise taxes for everyone.

In the case of this so-called middleclass tax cut, it was claimed during the last election that taxes could be reduced on the middle class by asking the wealthiest Canadians to pay more.

Canadians have since learned higher taxes from the wealthiest Canadians won’t begin to pay for this campaign promise that is the basis of the legislation we have before us today.
The promise was made without even the most superficial analysis.

It was made to get elected.

More from the wealthiest does not go far among the rest of the population.

The middle class will end up paying for its own tax cut, plus interest on the billions borrowed to cover this tax change and to cover successive deficits that were promised by the liberals, a promise they intend to keep and more, and should be meant to be broken.

The mark of a Liberal is generosity with other people’s money.

Deficits are just deferred taxes, which is your children’s financial inheritance.

The irony is, there is ample evidence that government loses revenue when it targets individuals who can afford tax avoidance, including moving their financial affairs to places like Bermuda, which was the tax haven of choice of the last liberal PM before the current occupant.

This legislation before us today, being introduced as the first finance bill in the opening session of a new Parliament, and before the federal budget, when these tax measures could have easily waited to be included in the next federal budget, is intended to fulfill a signature campaign promise.

I get that.

It was a former Ontario Conservative Premier, Mike Harris, who set the bar when it comes to keeping one’s election promises, so I understand that a political party does not want to be accused of lying to get elected, which is what a government is doing when it breaks its promises.

For the liberal party it would seem then, there are two types of campaign promises, those made to get elected, and those made to be broken.

I actually had an individual who works for a major chartered Canadian bank tell my office he believed that once elected the liberal party would do what it had always done and break election promises that had been made to appeal to those confused between election promises made to get elected and election promises made to be broken.

He could not believe the liberals would attack the middle class by tampering with TFSA’s, which in his professional estimation, were better than RRSPs as a savings instrument, particularly for seniors, and certainly for young families aspiring for the middleclass, saving for their first home.

If the debate about C-2 is actually about helping the middleclass, there are many other campaign promises that should be broken.

A measurement of a vibrant middleclass in a society is home ownership.

A recent study by the Canadian Centre for Economic Analysis (CANCEA), has identified those under the age of 45, families with two-income earners, who cannot find affordable housing without a long commute, as being the most under pressure.

I know a dual-income family in Toronto where both spouses are lawyers who are shut out of the housing market where a starter, fixer-upper home costs a million dollars in the neighbourhood where they rent.

TFSAs are being used by young families to save for that first home.

Housing is a need — just like food or water — and if you need it, there is greater and greater pressure on you to get it regardless of the cost.

What is occurring at the moment in places like Toronto and Vancouver is not sustainable.

The fear in places like my riding of Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke in Eastern Ontario, is that eventually the dream of home ownership that has died in the big cities will start to die in our areas as rising taxes, electricity costs, transportation and other big city problems become barriers to home ownership locally.

Take away the dream of home ownership in Canada, and you take away the middle class.

It is no secret in Ontario this province is struggling because of a mis-guided energy policy that has caused an exodus of jobs fleeing some of the highest electricity prices in North America to US border states.

Lower electricity prices will spur economic activity.

Lower energy costs are good for consumers and manufacturers.

Where there was once a burgeoning middleclass based on blue-collar manufacturing jobs, the decision, in words PMO principal secretary Gerald Butts put in the mouth of the Prime Minister, to “transition away from manufacturing jobs” has cost the middleclass dearly in Ontario.

I urge members of the liberal caucus from the rest of Canada to pay attention to Ontario’s problems.

The same people who ran the corrupt McGuinty provincial government have fled the sinking provincial ship and are now backroom operators in Ottawa.

They promise to take the entire country down the same deficit-spending-tax-the-rich-let-them-eat-cake attitude that is so toxic in Ontario today.

Focus on the one thing that would really improve the economy and help the middleclass: create employment.

Avoid the incessant talk about the environment.

The Greed Energy Act in Ontario, which was brought in under the guise of helping the environment, caused the loss of tens of thousands, of good, well-paying jobs in Ontario’s manufacturing sector.

Blocking pipelines, when added to the high electricity rate policy, will further devastate the middleclass in Ontario.

Beware any time you are told something is being done because it “helps the environment”.

Tax-Free Savings Accounts encouraged private capital formation.

Access to capital is what grows small business, and small businesses are our job creators.

Savings instruments like TFSAs will be even more important in the next few years as federal government deficit borrowing will crowd out private capital formation with a subsequent negative effect on small business and job creation.

As a new government, this government is sending out the wrong signals.

Canadians are smart. They are sitting on their cash to wait and see what happens.

In the interim, foreigners buy up more of Canada to fill the debt borrowing vacuum, which is not good for the long term national interest.

Up until the Federal Election, Canada was leading the world, not the least because of sound economic policy.
Our Conservative government left a surplus.

What Canadians have seen is a spend crazy Prime Minister who has spent through that surplus after only his first international road trip.

The contortions we hear from the government benches about the deteriorating condition of the finances of Canada makes them worthy of the circus this Parliament will become if we do not start having an adult conversation about the economy, minus the selfies.

While C-2 is two election promises the government can strike off their to-do list, it is time to seriously think about the millions of Canadians work hard, pay their taxes, and expect their government to do no harm before embarking on any of the other campaign promises that were made, that should be meant to be broken.